Palace sure Morales will allow scrutiny of his bank accounts

Malacañang is optimistic that Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) president Ricardo Morales will allow authorities to scrutinize his bank records amid an investigation into the corruption allegations in the state firm.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. (YANCY LIM / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said he expects Morales will sign the bank secrecy waiver after some PhilHealth officials have reportedly expressed readiness to do the same.

Morales earlier announced plans to go on medical leave upon the advice of his doctor so he can undergo chemotherapy.

"Siguro po kaya lang naman hindi nakapagbigay ng consent si General Morales, naiintindihan ko na masama ang kaniyang pakiramdam at umalis na siya nang maaga (Maybe General Morales was not able to give his consent because he was not feeling well and he had to leave early). I’m sure General Morales will also sign such a waiver," Roque said during a televised press briefing Thursday.

Nonetheless, Roque pointed out that government officials give consent to open their bank records to scrutiny whenever they file their Statements of Assets, Liability and Net Worth (SALN).

"In any case, lahat naman po tayong taong gobyerno, kapag tayo po ay nagpa-file ng SALN, mayroon po tayong pinipirmahan sa ating SALN na pumapayag tayo na buksan  ang ating mga bank accounts ng Ombudsman (In any case, all government workers, when we file ur SALN, we sign a provision in the SALN allowing the Ombudsman to open our bank accounts)," he added.

A member of the House committee probing the corruption allegations in PhilHealth recently asked the corporate executives to sign a document allowing the anti-money laundering authorities to check their bank accounts. The PhilHealth officials present in the hearing reportedly agreed to sign the bank secrecy waivers.

Upon the order of President Duterte, a government panel has recently been formed to probe the allegations of corruption and other anomalies in PhilHealth. The panel led by the Department of Justice is authorized to look into PhilHealth's finances, conduct lifestyle checks on officials and employees, and recommend preventive suspension on officials pending the probe.

Roque said the President will wait for the findings and recommendations of the investigating panel. 

On reports Morales wanted to talk to the President, Roque said the doors of Malacañang are open to anyone. "Pero umuusad na po iyong imbestigasyon at sigurado naman po ako na dahil binuo iyan ni Presidente, eh magkakaroon na po iyan ng sariling buhay at sariling identity ang task force na iyan (But the investigation is ongoing and I'm sure because it was created by the President, the task force will have its own life and identity)," he said.